During a town hall event on CNN, O’Rourke outlined his plan to protect the LGBTQ community in the United States. As part of that plan, O’Rouke said he would revoke the tax-exempt status of any non-profit — including churches, charities, and universities — that do not fully support same-sex marriage.
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” O’Rourke said. “And so as president, we’re going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.”
Many on the Republican side of the aisle were outraged with O’Rourke’s proposal and the threat it could pose to religious freedom in the United States, but as Buttigieg demonstrated, that outrage isn’t limited to those on the right.
During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Buttigieg told host Jake Tapper that he’s not sure O’Rourke realizes the turmoil such a policy could create in the United States.
Watch Buttigieg’s comments below:
“I agree that anti-discrimination law ought to be applied to all institutions but the idea you are going to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they haven’t found their way toward blessing same-sex marriage, I’m not sure he understood the implications of what he’s saying. I mean, that means going to war not only with churches, but I would think with mosques and a lot of organizations that may not have the same view of various religious principles that I do.”
Buttigieg remained open to the idea of allowing anti-discrimination laws to be applied everywhere, even schools and non-profit organizations, but remained firm that the state should not get involved in mandating the views of churches.
“So if we want to talk about anti-discrimination law for a school or an organization, absolutely. They should not be able to discriminate. But going after the tax exception of churches, Islamic centers, or other religious facilities in this country, I think that’s just going to deepen the divisions we’re experiencing at a moment when we’re seeing more and more people motivated often by compassion and by people they love moving in the right direction on LGBTQ rights. Which is obviously extremely important to me personally.”
Buttigieg — who is a gay man himself — hasn’t been afraid to tie in religious arguments to try to defend his political positions, as IJR previously reported.